Mindful, creative, colourful living.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Learn To Say NO - Live By Your Principles

Do you ever notice how much pressure other people put on you so they can get their own needs or concerns met? It’s annoying. It’s aggravating, and lots of other words that mean the same thing, and it really pisses me off. 

Even when you've made it blindingly obvious that you don't want to do something, they bombard you with a catalogue of reasons about why you 'should' and how it would be better if you did.

Better for who? Definitely not you.  

Doing things you don't want to can leave you with a sense of powerlessness and makes you feel like control of your own destiny is out of your hands.

One of the most valuable words I’ve learnt and trained myself to say in recent years is NO.It’s not always straightforward, especially when the other person happens to be a loved one. 

Understandably, you don’t want to hurt their feelings, so most times, and frequently after a lengthy debate, you give way to your own better judgement and concede to their way of thinking. During these debates, the word most commonly used is ‘should.’ You should do this, or you should go here, for example.

‘Should’ is an interesting choice of word to use in these situations; its core meaning is, ‘that something is the right thing for somebody to do.’

So, when someone tells you ‘should’ do something and you don’t, your brain tells you that what you are doing is wrong. As a result of this, you feel pangs of guilt. It's these feelings of remorse that make it difficult to say NO.

To make matters worse, when you do that thing or go to that place you didn't want to, you add to these guilty feelings by saying things to yourself such as  ‘I should have been stronger, or I should have stood up for myself.' Inevitably, more guilt creeps in, and you begin to feel like a weak, useless piece of crap.

Learning to say NO can be hard to do. It’s taken me a while to master, and I'm not entirely proficient, yet. However, when I do say to NO to something I don't want to do, something beautiful happens, I I feel a surge of empowering energy, which reminds me that my destiny is in my hands.  

What helped me get to a place where I can say NO  was writing a list of principles/values, which I expect myself to live by. They don’t make me better than everyone else, they don't mean I am better than everyone else. They are my personal principles based on how I choose to live my life in a way that pleases and empowers me.

Everyone's principles are different. Even your nearest and dearest may have a different set of life principles than you, but when you know what your principles are it makes it much easier to say NO.

Say, for instance, that someone asks you to go out for a coffee, but you’re in the middle of working on a project that you really want to complete before the end of the day.

“Oh, come on. You’ve been working for hours, and you really ‘should’ take a break,” they might say.

Having the principle, once I’ve started something I finish it,  and sticking to that principle makes it less challenging to say that crucial NO.

Having a set of principles which I live by has had a positive and empowering effect on my life. People respect me more because they understand I will not be coerced into doing stuff I don’t want to. I feel empowered because I can say NO and get on with doing the things that matter to me. 

What principles do you live by?

Write down all the principles you expect to live your life by.  Your principles can be anything you like, as long as you believe in them. For example, you might enjoy exercising three times a week. Have a principle which states, I exercise three times a week. Set a specific time for your exercise program and stick to your principle.

Live by your own principles.

Learn to say NO to anything that contradicts the principles you have set for living your life.

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  1. Hi, Christine. Thank you for commenting. Yes, it is hard to say no, but the more you do it the easier it becomes.